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Bihar Govt. Disenrolled over 3Lakh Students

The Bihar State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (BSCPCR) has taken cognizance of the matter.

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Explore the reasons behind the Bihar government’s decision to disenroll more than 300,000 students and its potential impact on the affected students and the state’s education sector.

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Introduction

The state of Bihar, located in the eastern part of India, has recently made headlines due to a significant and rather controversial move in its education system. The Bihar government has decided to disenroll over three lakh students from its schools for remaining absent for more than a month. The decision was taken after a statewide survey conducted by the education department revealed that these students had not attended classes either online or offline since July. This move has sparked a nationwide debate, with opinions divided on whether it is a necessary step to ensure the quality of education or a harsh measure that could potentially harm the future prospects of these students.

Understanding the Context

Bihar has long struggled with low attendance rates in its schools, particularly in rural areas. Factors such as poverty, lack of infrastructure, and cultural norms have contributed to high absenteeism. In an effort to address this issue and improve the quality of education, the government introduced various initiatives, including the “Baal Sena” program, which involved student volunteers tracking and reporting absentee students. Despite these efforts, absenteeism remained a significant challenge. Then a statewide survey conducted by the education department revealed that over 3 Lack students had not attended classes either online or offline since July.

The survey, which covered over 1.5 crore students from classes 1 to 12, found that 3,07,227 students had not logged in to the online classes or visited the schools for physical classes. The decision was taken after This report and the education department has issued a circular to all the district education officers (DEOs) and block education officers (BEOs) to remove these students from the enrolment list and inform their parents about the same.

The circular also stated that the students who have been disenrolled can re-enroll themselves in the same or any other school within a month, provided they submit a valid reason for their absence. However, if they fail to do so, they will lose their academic year and have to repeat the same class next year.

The Drastic Measure

The move has drawn flak from various quarters, including students, parents, teachers, and education activists, who have termed it as arbitrary, unjust, and insensitive. They have pointed out that many students could not attend classes due to various reasons, such as lack of access to smartphones, internet connectivity, electricity, study materials, etc. They have also highlighted the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the floods that affected many parts of the state on the education of the students.

Arguments in Favor

Quality of Education: Proponents of this move argue that ensuring regular attendance is essential for imparting quality education. Frequent absenteeism not only disrupts the learning process but also hinders the assessment of a student’s progress.

Resource Allocation: By removing students who are chronically absent, resources can be better allocated to those who are genuinely interested in learning. This can result in improved teacher-student ratios and better infrastructure.

Parental Accountability: Some believe that disenrolling students will force parents to take their children’s education more seriously. It sends a message that education is a joint responsibility of the school, parents, and students.

Long-term Benefits: Supporters argue that this tough measure may deter students from skipping school in the future, leading to improved attendance rates and better educational outcomes in the long run.

Arguments Against

Injustice to Students: Critics argue that disenrolling students is unfair to them, as many may have valid reasons for their absenteeism, such as illness or family responsibilities. Punishing them by depriving them of education may have far-reaching consequences.

Lost Opportunities: Disenrolled students may lose out on valuable educational opportunities, and their chances of catching up later may be severely compromised.

Lack of Support: The government’s decision to disenroll students appears to lack a comprehensive strategy to address the root causes of absenteeism, such as poverty and lack of access to quality education.

Social Impact: Critics also argue that this move may deepen the social divide, as students from marginalized communities may be disproportionately affected.

Concern of Bihar State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (BSCPCR)

Some of the affected students have also approached the Bihar State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (BSCPCR) and filed complaints against the decision. The BSCPCR has taken cognizance of the matter and asked the education department to explain the rationale behind the move and how it will ensure that the students do not drop out of school permanently.

The BSCPCR has also asked the education department to conduct a fresh survey and identify the genuine reasons for the absence of the students and provide them with adequate support and facilities to resume their studies. It has also suggested that the department should adopt a more humane and flexible approach toward the students and not penalize them for factors beyond their control.

Conclusion

The decision by the Bihar government to disenroll over 3 lakh students from schools for remaining absent is undoubtedly a contentious one. It raises important questions about the balance between ensuring regular attendance and providing access to education for all, especially in a region where socio-economic challenges are significant.

While the government’s intentions to improve the quality of education and promote accountability among students and parents are commendable, it is crucial to consider the potential long-term consequences of this move. Alternative strategies, such as improving the infrastructure, addressing socio-economic disparities, and providing support to students facing barriers to attendance, should also be explored to tackle absenteeism more effectively.

Ultimately, education is a fundamental right, and any measures taken to address attendance issues should be carefully weighed against their impact on the futures of the students involved. A comprehensive approach that combines both discipline and support may be the key to achieving the desired improvements in Bihar’s education system without leaving a large number of students behind.

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